It’s fall. It’s getting cooler, the leaves are changing and my Facebook feed is full of posts from the Franklin Cider Mill. It’s one of my favorite places in Michigan (where I’m from). It’s a super cute cider mill in the near suburbs of Detroit. It’s only open for a few months in the fall. I would go on field trips when I was a kid and with my family. As an adult, when I go back to visit, I love taking my son and getting a bag of doughnuts and hot cider. Ah, the cider doughnuts. You can smell the nutmeg as you walk up to the barn, the bottom of the bag is warm, and the doughnuts are soft and delicious.
These doughnuts were yummy. I made them a little thicker than they needed to be, and I should’ve used a larger cutter for the center, but they still turned out well. There was the faint hint of cider and nutmeg, very reminiscent of the donuts from the cider mill.
I did make one teensy mistake. I didn’t read the recipe completely before starting and I noticed that it called for boiled cider. Ok, so while I had everything else in the mixer I quickly boiled 1/3 cup of cider, wondering what it’s purpose was (I’ve never heard of “boiled” cider). Whoops! Luckily I caught it in time and the doughnuts turned out great!
Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 2 eggs , at room temperature
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used full fat)
- 1/3 cup boiled apple cider (reduced from 1 ½ cup, see note at bottom)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Canola oil (for frying)
- Cinnamon sugar (1-1/2 cups sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon)
In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together sugar and butter until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating a minute after each. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
Pour buttermilk, boiled cider, and vanilla into butter mixture. Mix well (the batter will look a bit curdled) Add flour mixture and combine on low speed just until fully moistened.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and generously flour. Turn dough out and pat gently into 3/4-inch-thickness. Sprinkle dough with additional flour, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove dough from the freezer; use a lightly floured 3-inch doughnut cutter to cut out about 18 doughnuts with holes. (You may gather the scraps and roll again as needed, but you may need to chill the dough more to firm it up.) Place cut doughnuts on the other baking sheet as you go; then transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up again.
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels and set it nearby. In large pot or deep fryer, heat 3 inches of oil to 370° (test with an instant-read or deep fry thermometer). Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until browned on one side, about 1 minute; then flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute longer. Repeat with the remaining dough. When doughnuts are cool enough to handle but still warm, sprinkle all over with cinnamon sugar.
Boiled apple cider gives these apple cider donuts a rich, slightly tangy flavor. You can buy boiled cider at some gourmet and Whole Foods stores, or, you can boil your own cider by simmering 1-1/2 cups of fresh apple cider down to 1/3 cup in about 25 minutes--it just won't be as concentrated as the commercial product.